Mining job losses have been reported across New South Wales, but there appears to be no reduction to the high wages that have characterised the industry.

CEO of the NSW Minerals Council Steve Galilee, says mine operators are working to become more efficient and reduce the impact on mining communities.

Mr Galilee says a survey of wages conducted by the Minerals Council, revealed wages in mining don’t appear to be impacted by job losses.

  • The average wage is between $120,000 and $130,000, he said.
  • Obviously the wages are a factor but there hasn’t been a move to reduce wages.
  • The last 18 months or so have seen the industry seek to radically improve its productivity in the face of declining commodity prices.

The National Minerals Council estimated over 10,000 jobs have been lost nation-wide in the industry over the last two years.

Steve Galilee says he is frustrated by government focus on manufacturing job losses.

Mr Galilee says the loss of 1600 car manufacturing jobs over four years is lamentable, but job cuts in the mining industry are more than comparable and aren’t receiving the same attention.

He says the industry is facing hard times and the government needs to step in to prevent more workers losing their positions.

  • As an industry it is disappointing that earlier this year we saw much discussion about job losses in car manufacturing that were across two states and over four years, he said.
  • In our sector in NSW there have been around 2,000 job losses in the past 18 months and most of them were in one region.
  • Those job losses have largely gone unnoticed by our governments and we think urgent action is needed by the State Government to make sure no more jobs are lost.

Steve Galilee says the situation will only get worse as the coal price declines and operators seek to reduce their costs.

Mr Galilee says the solution isn�t a government handout or rescue package, but in a relaxation of planning laws and reducing taxes.

He says two Hunter Valley mines are still waiting to hear if their extensions will be approved and jobs will be secure.

  • We do pay significantly high taxes as an industry, he said.
  • Mount Thorley Warkworth outside of Singleton and Drayton South near Muswellbrook, they’ve been seeking approval to extend their operations in to the future.
  • Right there is 1800 jobs stuck in the NSW planning system that the government could save.

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